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Women's History Month: We celebrate a rising legal star

FLYING HIGH: Kim Opszala

KIM OPSZALA is a corporate lawyer at Dentons, the largest law firm in the world.

In 2016 she was awarded the Rising Star in Law Award by WeAreTheCity, which recognises the achievements of women below senior management level and represents the female talent pipeline.

As a corporate lawyer she advises all types of businesses, from owner-managed businesses through to large listed multinational groups, in relation to a wide range of corporate transactions including acquisitions and disposals. Last year, she also spent six months on secondment to Network Rail working in their legal team.

Outside of work she is passionate about helping young people and enjoys volunteering. She is a trustee of St. Francis' Children's Society (SFCS), a children’s charity and adoption agency which places children with new families and offers support to anyone involved in the adoption process. SFCS is especially committed to finding families for children who wait longest in the care system: typically from minority backgrounds, have siblings, are four years plus or have disabilities or special needs.

She is also a governor at a local secondary school where children from low-income households make up a large percentage of the pupil intake as well as a professional ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors, which aims to educate and inform the next generation of the legal profession about the importance of diversity and promote and encourage diversity within the legal profession.

"I am inspired by Michelle Obama. She is an inspirational speaker and used her role as the first lady to promote healthier lifestyles, especially for children, and to highlight prevalent issues such as physical and mental health in children. But she also wasn’t afraid to have fun either; I loved her carpool karaoke episode!"

My role models are my mum who always supported me and encouraged me and my aunt who suffers from lupus like me, but has never let that get in the way of achieving her goals. Professionally, I also have two: Funke Abimbola, General Counsel at Roche who has mentored me for the past year and has provided invaluable advice and support and Sandie Okoro, general counsel at the World Bank Group. I went to a talk by her last year and she said something that resonated with me: don’t tone yourself down, be your authentic self.

"The best part of my job is that I get to work with a huge variety of inspirational and successful people. As well as advising well-known brands like Sainsbury’s I also get to advise local business owners. This keeps things interesting! My legal experience also allows me to do pro bono work. For example I recently advised a new charity, Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes, on its incorporation, constitution and registration with the Charity Commission.

"In my spare time I like to travel. I have travelled all over the world and never get bored of seeing new countries and experiencing different cultures. I am also trying to learn Polish. It’s a very difficult language to learn but I am getting better, slowly.

"I would tell my younger self not to worry so much. Worrying/fear leads to a huge amount of lost energy and I now see that ultimately, what will be will be.

"I am determined to continue to work hard, especially in relation to my charity/school governor roles, to achieve the goals I have set myself. I am also determined to enjoy life to the full. Life is short, so you have to enjoy it and experience it to the maximum."

To find out more about Kim please visit @CorpLawyerMK on Twitter.

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